Archive for the ‘ ~3 to 5 Miles~ ’ Category

Prudence West – Portsmouth

  • Prudence West
  • Bay Avenue, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°37’20.93″N, 71°19’21.29″W (1.5 miles from ferry)
  • Last Time Hiked: July 30, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.1 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

This hike on the western side of Prudence Island covers a variety of trails. It starts at a picnic and parking area along Bay Road at the entrance of Pulpit Rock. The rock it self is a couple hundred feet from the trail head along the Blind Allen Trail. This rock is where Roger Williams use to preach to the Native Americans and is also believed to be the throne of Canonicus and Miantonomi of the Narragansett Tribe. Continuing a little further along the winding Blind Allen Trail you will come to a trail intersection. Take a left here onto the newly created Deer Chase Run. This trail, blazed with deer hoof symbols, slowly climbs up a hill that leads to the Desert, an area of the island that wind erosion has made unsuitable for farming. The area now is abundant with pitch pine trees and occasional areas of sand. Soon you will come to the intersection of the Desert Trail. Continue ahead here following the hoof symbols of Deer Chase Run. The trail winds slightly downhill to a bridge crossing at Mill Creek. The trail then winds easterly exiting at utility pole 11 along Sunset Hill Avenue. Turn right here and follow the dirt road for about a tenth of a mile passing the Sunset Hill Farm (Bacon Farm) on the right. Ahead of you will signage for trails. Continue straight and onto the trail. You will see signage for the Diamond Trail on a tree. Continue ahead for a bit and you will come to a trail intersection. This is the Diamond Trail. To the left it would lead you to Baker Farm. For this hike turn right onto the Diamond Trail and follow it, passing tall grasses and shrubs, for about two tenths of a mile to another dirt road. At the dirt road stay to the left and pass through the wall. You are now at a six trail intersection. Turn right here and start to follow the Division Wall Trail keeping the wall to your right for the time being. This trail is blazed with a mathematic division symbol. The wall, which runs almost completely across the island represents the division line between land owned by Roger Williams (to the north) and John Winthrop (to the south). The wall was built a century after the agreement was made in the 1630’s. The trail follows the wall dipping into a valley, crossing a small stream, and then slightly back uphill a bit before ascending to Bay Avenue. The Ballard Trail runs parallel to this trail and joins it before coming to the street. Across the street is the end of the wall and the Division Rock, the dividing point between the two property owners. Also at this location is the beginning of the Sunset Trail on which you will follow along the west shore of the island for a half mile. Along the way on the right you will find a grave of an unknown British sailor who perished in the American Revolution. The Sunset Trail ends at Chase Way, a dirt road. Stay to the left here and follow the road along the shoreline. The road passes Chase Beach before winding to the right. At the end of Chase Way turn left onto Bay Avenue and follow it to the parking area at Pulpit Rock.

 

NOTE: If you plan on hiking on Prudence Island, be known that the island is not commercialized. There are no restaurants, lodging, or transportation services. Once you are off the ferry you are on your own. Bring everything you will need for a day hike with no services.

 

Updated trail map can be purchased at NBNERR at South Prudence.

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Along The Division Wall Trail

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Prudence South – Portsmouth

  • Prudence South – Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
  • T-Wharf Avenue, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°35’25.29″N, 71°19’28.96″W (3 miles from ferry)
  • Last Time Hiked: July 29, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.0 miles
  • Fairly easy, all road walking.

 

Once part of a Naval Base and ammunition storage facility during World War II, the southern end of Prudence Island is now a National Estuarine Research Reserve. The old roads of the former base offer several miles of walking “trails” on the property. For this hike, you will start at the Learning Center. Inside the building are several displays of the type of birds, butterflies, and flowers you may see along the hike. There is also a butterfly garden outside the building. From the Learning Center follow T-Wharf Avenue, just under a mile, south to the wharf itself. The wharf was built by the United States Navy and was quite active during the second world war. Today the wharf is used for recreational purposes. There is an Education Shed at the beginning of the wharf well worth checking out. Follow the wharf to its end for uninterrupted views of Jamestown and the Newport Bridge, but be sure to secure your cell phone. The spaces between the wharfs boards are just wide enough to lose a falling cell phone. Fishing is quite a common site here as well. Several types of birds can be commonly spotted here including seagulls, terns, and cormorants. Returning back to land turn left at the composting toilet (good time for a break if needed), and follow the gravel road (Levesque Memorial Road). It will lead you along an Interpretive Trail that offers an occasional informational board about the surrounding area. This road also offers areas along the left that reach out to the bay for some spectacular views including a memorial park with a picnic area. When you reach Brown Road, stay to the left. The road then starts to bend to the right to another intersection at Albro Farm Road. Stay to the right here and head east following the concrete road. You will start to see several former ammunition bunkers from yesteryear along this stretch. At the end of the road you will come to a Quonset Hut. Here turn left and retrace you steps back to the Learning Center.

 

NOTE: If you plan on hiking on Prudence Island, be known that the island is not commercialized. There are no restaurants, lodging, or transportation services. Once you are off the ferry you are on your own. Bring everything you will need for a day hike with no services.

 

Trail map can be found at: Prudence South.

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Newport Bridge From The Southern Point of Prudence Island

Prudence North – Portsmouth

  • Prudence North
  • Neck Farm Road, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°38’30.76″N, 71°20’44.46″W (3 miles from ferry)
  • Last Time Hiked: July 28, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.2 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

Just north from the famed abandoned Garland Mansion is the trail head to the Providence Point Trail. There is a small area on the right just before the gate to park a vehicle. The trail and subsequent beach walk to Providence Point, the northern most point on the island is just a little over two miles long. If you were to also add the side trails to this hike the mileage in total would increase to about six miles. The land here at the northern end of the island is part of the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Starting from the gate and heading north you will immediately find yourself on an old road that is covered with grass in most areas. The road is mowed often enough, but stay out of the areas of taller grass. Birds and berries are abundant here, especially the familiar call of the catbird. Black raspberry, wine berry, and bayberry are all along this 2 mile stretch. At the first intersection there are signs for Long Point Trail and Schoolhouse Trail. Long Point trail to the left would lead you at to the peninsula between Coogeshall Cove and Sheep Pen Cove. The Schoolhouse Trail to the right would lead you to Potters Cove. For this hike continue straight. On the right in the dense shrubs are the remains of an old schoolhouse. Soon you will see Coogeshall Cove on the left and its large marsh. Keep an eye out for egrets here. Beyond the cove you will catch a glimpse of Patience Island. Beyond the cove there are some unmarked trails that intersect the main trail, continue ahead and the trail starts to climb uphill before coming to the next intersection with signs. On the left is the Postal Ferry Trail that would lead you to the narrow channel between Prudence and Patience Islands. On the right is the Bear Point Trail that leads you to the East Passage just north of Bear Point. The intersection is the site of the North End Farm, long abandoned. All that remains are several cellar holes with an occasional interpretive sign. There was a barn, a house, and several other smaller buildings here, and the area with a lack of trees was the farm. Again be aware of the tall grass here. Continuing ahead along the Providence Point Trail you will pass some more shrubs and trees such as honeysuckle and crabapples. You will also pass a large stone wall on the right. At the end of the trail a narrow path leads you to the seashell beach strewed with sea lavender. Staying to your left will lead you to the point. From this perspective you can see the Warwick Neck Light, the Aldrich Mansion, Rocky Point, Conimicut Light, Colt State Park, and the Providence skyline eleven miles away. From here turn around and retrace your steps back to the parking area. To add extra mileage to the hike explore to side trails. This area tends to be very buggy particularly in the summer. It is advised to wear mosquito netting for this hike. Also ticks are very prevalent in this area. Be sure to check for them quite thoroughly, stay on the trails and out of the tall grass.

 

NOTE: If you plan on hiking on Prudence Island be known that the island is not commercialized. There are no restaurants, lodging, or transportation services. Once you are off the ferry you are on your own. Bring everything you will need for a day hike with no services.

 

Map can be found at: Prudence North

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The Beach to Providence Point

Freetown North – Freetown

  • Freetown North – Freetown/Fall River State Forest
  • Slab Bridge Road, Freetown, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°46’40.01″N, 71° 2’29.59″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 30, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.5 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

Three and a half years ago I ventured into the southern part of the Freetown State Forest to do a hike. It was a cold and icy day in mid December of 2014. I finally made my way back to explore some of the trails in the northern part of the forest. This hike, early in the morning to beat the heat, made for a very sweaty adventure on a very warm and humid morning. Starting from the main parking area off of Slab Bridge Road we made our way up the entrance road back to the fire barn and then turned left onto the dirt trail named Payne Road. We followed this road passing a CCC watering hole on the right. Shortly after the watering hole and again on the right we came upon a blue blaze on a trail marker. We turned right here and followed the narrow and winding Massasoit Trail. This trail is rocky and rooted in areas and crosses a small stream. We followed the trail to its end then turned left on to Hathaway Road. There are several side trails off the main roads here but the remainder of the hike is on old forest roads. At the next major intersection of forest roads we continued straight staying on Hathaway Road passing two more watering holes. We also observed along this stretch mosquito traps that are used to test the pests for West Nile Virus and EEE. At the next major intersection we turned right onto Makepeace Road and followed it past the intersecting orange trail before going over a slight hill. Just over that hill we turned left onto the Bent Rim Trail which is marked with a sign. For the remainder of this hike we continued straight ahead followed the Bent Rim Trail as it winded through the forest ignoring all side paths and roads until we reached a trail on the left just before the gate at Slab Bridge Road. This trail leads you back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Freetown North

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Old Forest Roads

Laurel Loop – Voluntown

  • Laurel Loop Trail
  • Fish Road, Voluntown, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°33’3.44″N, 71°49’48.04″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 23, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.8 miles
  • Fairly easy, trails can be muddy.

 

Starting from a parking area along Fish Road about a eight tenths of a mile from Route 49, follow Fish Road easterly for a few feet until you come to where the Nehantic Trail crosses the road. Here you will turn right and follow the blue blazed Nehantic Trail for just a few feet before coming to the Pachaug-Nehantic Crossover Trail. This trail, on the left is blazed blue/red and there is very good signage here. The trail itself is at first very narrow winding through a forest floor of vibrant and tall ferns. You will shortly come to a road crossing where there was once a toll booth. The blue/red blazed trail continues ahead on the other side of the road. It slowly climbs uphill through canopies of mountain laurel and tall trees before descending gently. Look closely on the right for an old cemetery. Beyond the cemetery on the left the trail bends to the left, downhill and over a small stream before coming to some old and rather impressive foundations on the left. Beyond the foundations the trail splits. To the right the crossover trail continues to the right. Turn left here to follow the Laurel Loop. Signage (at the time of this hike) is very well marked. The remainder of the Laurel Loop Trail is now blazed blue/yellow and is now following an old cart path. Soon you will see a house on the left. The trail turns right just before the road and continues through the woods winding through an area of low shrubs including blueberries. The trail soon swings to the west and crosses Tarklin Hill Road. Continuing straight across the road the trail then follows another, slightly overgrown, cartpath flanked with even more mountain laurel. The trail meanders northwesterly for a bit before swinging south and then west. Along the way you will cross a seasonal brook, see a large open field to the right, cross a wooden bridge over another stream, and walk through a pine grove, before coming to another road crossing at Hill Road. The last stretch of trail continues across the road westerly into the woods before turning to the south. The trail then comes to the road intersection near the toll booth. Turn right here and follow Fish Road westerly back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Laurel Loop

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Foundations Along The Laurel Loop

Bluff Point – Groton

  • Bluff Point State Park And Coastal Reserve
  • Depot Road, Groton, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°20’8.76″N, 72° 2’0.90″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 14, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.6 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

Bluff Point State Park once made the CNN list of the 50 states natural wonders. Surprisingly enough, even though it has been on the to do list for quite a while, it took me a few years to finally venture down here to check it out. Groton is a long drive to most Rhode Islanders. Pack a lunch, make a daytrip out of it, get out of Rhode Island once in a while! This place is worth the drive. The park offers well defined trails and signage where needed. The trails are used by walkers, hikers, joggers, bicyclists, and horseback riders. Dogs are welcome but must be leashed. Starting just after sunrise from the seemingly large and nearly empty parking lot at the end of Depot Road we started following the wide gravel road trail just beyond the informational signs. The trail soon splits about one tenth of a mile into the park. Stay to the right here and continue along the main trail that follows the Poquonnock River. You then follow this trail for 1.3 miles until you reach Bushy Point Beach ignoring spur trails both narrow and wide. Along the way there are several spots that overlook the river and features in the distance. Across the river is the bustling Groton-New London Airport. There are views of the peninsulas and points that jut out into the river as well as the lighthouses further in the distance. The Avery Point Lighthouse at the University of Connecticut Avery Point campus is visible as well as the haunted New London Ledge Light. The trail also winds gently up and down small hills flanked by towering trees and passes some areas of marsh and wetlands. There are an abundance of birds here as well. Great blue herons, egrets, cormorants, hawks, robins, cardinals, and woodpeckers were all spotted on this hike. When we reached the beach we explored it for a few minutes. The beach itself extends westward for nearly a mile, but we only ventured in the area around the entrance. The beach is closed in areas during nesting season of least terns and piping plovers. Dogs and horses are not allowed on the beach between April and August. Back to the main trail we climbed up the small hill of the bluff. There are several spur trails to the edge of the bluff and the rocky beach below. The rocky shoreline makes for a good photograph and was also being used by a couple fishermen. Looking to the south you can see Fishers Island from here. Back on the main trail, it starts to wind to the east and then to the north passing Sunset Rock on the left before winding to a cellar hole at a trail intersection. The spot is well marked with a sign that explains that this was once the Winthrop Homestead, the former Connecticut Governor. After lingering at the cellar hole for a bit we decided to follow the less traveled trail to Mumford Cove. There is a sign here indicating which trail to follow. This trail winds downhill through an area of scattered boulders, tall trees, and a seasonal brook before coming to the cove. There are a couple spots along the trail to take a peek at the cove and rest your legs if you so choose. Continuing, now heading north, the trail becomes more of a grass road. There is a large wooded hill to the left and areas of thickets and shrubbery to the right. The trail soon ends at a gravel road that runs from Haley Farm to the parking area where this hike started. Turning left here, follow the gravel road to the large parking area where the car is park. The lot was nearly full when finished the hike. Bluff Point is a very popular recreation spot.

 

Map can be found at: Bluff Point.

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Boulder at Bluff Point

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Trail Flanked By Trees

Francis Carter West – Charlestown

  • Francis Carter Preserve – West
  • Kings Factory Road, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°25’56.37″N, 71°41’37.11″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 10, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.8 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

The newest addition of the Francis Carter Preserve, being the western end, acquired in 2014 offers the red blazed Narragansett Loop and River Trail. This part of the preserve is a great example of how nature can reclaim land that was once industrial. This hike starts from the parking area along Kings Factory Road just south of the Pawcatuck River. The red blaze trail meanders east along the rivers edge first passing a fenced in cemetery. The trail soon comes to an area that is sandy and rutted by dirt bikes and ATV’s. Stay to the left here and you will find the next blaze. The aptly named river trail soon runs along the Pawcatuck River once again. The trail here climbs up and down small hills before ascending gently to a large open field. From here it is important to follow the signs. Turning left, follow the red blazed Narragansett Loop. Bear in mind that this a new trail and not as defined as other established trails in the preserve. In time the trail will be well used and well defined. For now keep an eye out for the next sign. The trail continues northward for a bit before turning to the right and joining with the Grassland Trail. Here you will want to stay to the right following what is now both the Narragansett Loop and Grassland Trail to the south. The path soon turns to the left following the southern perimeter of the large meadow. Just before the woods, on the left, there is an informational board about the grasslands. Take a moment to look at it. From here, continue straight into the woods following the yellow blazed trail. Just before the hill, the red blazed Narragansett Loop turns to the right into one of the nicest stretches of trail in Rhode Island. On the left you will find the ruins of on old chimney. The trail winds below a canopy of pines and hemlocks before passing under power lines. Continuing ahead the trail follows and old stone wall before turning to the left, slightly uphill, to some large boulders left behind from the last glacier. The trail soon comes to an old cart path where you turn right continuing to follow the red blazes. The pine trees here are very dense and thick making for a well shaded pine grove. The trail soon comes to a pair a gates. After passing the gate, you will be on a an old asphalt road. The signage here indicates that this section of the Loop Trail is temporary. The road soon comes to an intersection. The roads ahead and to the left are active. Turn right onto another abandoned asphalt road. This was the entrance road of the former industrial complex from yesteryear. The road soon bears to the left and becomes a dirt road. A few hundred feet ahead is the intersection where the River Trail comes to the Narragansett Loop. Turn left here and retrace your steps back to the parking area. Hunting is allowed on this property at times. Be sure to wear blaze orange during hunting season.

 

Map can be found at: Francis Carter West.

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Along The Narragansett Loop Trail

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